By on June 20, 2018

2018 Chevrolet Cruze L

For years, this place has been saddled with accusations of an anti-GM bias, yet a quick headcount of current contributors who have a product from The General in their driveway reveal more of our own dollars being willingly spent on a Chevy or GMC than most may think – including your author, who just traded away his 2010 Ram for a 2018 Sierra. More on that in another post.

The car shown here occupies a segment of the market where margins are razor thin and profits are cut to the bone. FCA has bailed and Ford is following suit, leaving Chevy to soldier on as the lone Detroiter peddling a Civrollantra alternative.

Spoiler alert: it’s not a penalty box.

The Cruze L is only available with a manual transmission, which is fine by me. Keeps out the riff raff. Its 1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec four makes 153 horsepower, very nearly double the number your author had under his right foot while piloting similarly-sized cars twenty years ago. And guess what? Unlike others *cough* Corolla *cough*, the Cruze is endowed with disc brakes at all four corners, rather than prehistoric drums at the rear.

Air conditioning is also standard on the $16,975 Cruze L, along with a steering wheel that adjusts for reach and rake. Infotainment is taken care of by way of a 7-inch touchscreen with all manner of Bluetooth this and CarPlay that. GM’s 4G LTE wi-fi may have sounded like a gimmick when they introduced it so many years ago, but it is a feature that have proven popular in our new Sierra. Sure, it’s another monthly bill but the savvy shopper will bargain for a few months’ trial at purchase. The trunk’s big enough for this Canadian to bring home a whole load of freshly-scuffed sneakers.

2018 Chevrolet Cruze L

Cheap 15-inch tires find themselves wrapped around steel wheels, although GM does bin the spare tire in an outrageous fit of flinty-eyed cost cutting. Sealant and a compressor are included instead, as is roadside assistance, I suppose. Still, spare tires should be standard, methinks. Ten airbags and OnStar will tend to your needs in a crash.

My major gripe is one I consistently level at most base model machinery – the availability of colors. Or, more accurately, the lack thereof. Chevy’s palette is especially bare, offering only two shades, neither of which are inspiring. Forced to choose, I’d pick the Silver Ice Metallic over the Summit White. They should be called Depressing Fog Metallic and Rental Car White.

The Cruze is not a horrible-looking car, although the base L does suffer from a steering wheel with big plastic ears where buttons would appear on higher-spec trims. This gives the thing an appearance not unlike that of Odo, the shape-shifting Chief of Security on Deep Space Nine, an entity who could never quite correctly mimic the contours of human ears. I’ll reserve judgement on the Cruze’s plastics, leaving that for our resident Cruze owner to comment upon.

Outside, however, the Cruze is a decent looking little car, avoiding such small-car pitfalls that blight other compact machinery such as the tragically-proportioned rear overhang on Nissan’s Versa (yes, that’s a class-size lower).

By these measures, the Cruze L seems to check enough boxes for entry into the Ace of Base club. GM just needs to run the thing though a couple more paint booths.

[Image: General Motors]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown absent of rebates or incentives, priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

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105 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2018 Chevrolet Cruze L...”


  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    Do they come standard with people killing ignition switches?

    GM: The mark of execution. JUNK.

    • 0 avatar
      junkandfrunk

      Just like how Toyotas come with people killing gas pedals.

      Toyota: The mark of execution. JUNK.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      @Pdog_phatpat

      Last Generation did win a number of J.D. Power quality awards. I would bet this Cruze will do the same.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Well, if it won J.D. Power quality awards, then IT MUST BE REALLY GOOD!

        /TOTAL OVER THE TOP SARCASM

        • 0 avatar
          Hydromatic

          Nothing satisfies you, you bitter little pill, you.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I could make a list of hatchbacks, coupes, sedans, CUVs, SUVs and Vans that I like, those I dislike, and those I’m neutral on.

            The ones I like would be 1:10 compared to the ones I’m neutral about or that I dislike.

            Here’s what you need to do: Learn to be more demanding, expect more, and have higher standards, you accepting-of-all-things-good-bad-or-indifferent.

            When did you give up?

  • avatar

    This car is a unicorn that exists solely for advertising purposes. “Chevy Cruise starting at under $17,000 MSRP!!!” Good luck trying to find one on a dealer lot somewhere. No auto tranny, no colors, no sales.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Counter point: It’s total lot poison with a stick shift that any dealer that DOES end up with one might be willing to unload at a fire sale price just to free up lot space for some more crossovers.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      cars.com reports twenty 2018 Cruze L models in the US. The cheapest one shows up listed at $16100. So they do exist, but like the base Frontier, they’re rarer than a non-Rusty Mazda.

    • 0 avatar
      "scarey"

      If I was in the market for a new car right now, I would take a test drive in one of these. Stick shift, White, OK by me. The price is right. And I would probably buy, unless disqualified by any engine type issues, which I have not heard any of (I would research. Engine issues, Where is the car made ? Where is the engine made ? ) But this car seems to be right up my alley.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    USA Parts Content Index:

    Rank: 50th

    Make: Chevrolet

    Model: Cruze Sedan

    *AALA: 0.44

    *TDC: 41
    How you rike Chrevy Cruze wid 59% froreign parts content?

    Ride good, yes?

    Sree da United Strates of America in Chevy Cruze.

    Guangzhou Motors (GM) is harppy to sale you dis a here a Cruze.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

      It’s the Daewooiest Daewoo remaining in today’s marketplace.

      • 0 avatar
        "scarey"

        Oh. Disregard my previous comment.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Yeah. You should only buy from a manufacturer that doesn’t have a factory in Mexico. So, you’re limited to some super car manufacturers and maybe Volvo.

          You sure don’t want to buy a car from an American company that, no matter where the model is built, the money goes to them and therefore mostly remains in this country where they employ thousands. That would be silly.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      I think you can make your point without the accent.

      • 0 avatar
        Secret Hi5

        @bumpy – Racism is trendy.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        His only point is that GM has factories in Mexico and does business in China. Please find me a mainstream manufacturer that doesn’t have/do both.

        So, according to his narrative, if a company doesn’t participate in the world’s largest car market and only builds cars domestically (with no less than 100% domestic parts content), its okay (except he like some vehicles from manufacturers who do both, but, um, just ignore that). Except the company would be extremely foolish to do such, and would be in financial trouble before you could say “hola amigo”.

        He is simply biased against GM and Ford, and looks for ways, or makes up ways, to justify that bias.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      And your grasp on how the system *actually* works is still hilarious at best.

      You can name all the brands and cars you approve of (because your opinion is far more valuable than anyone elses, right?) and I bet every single one of those manufacturers do business in China and likely has a factory in Mexico. But, that doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t fit your ignorant rants. Just pick and choose some random facts that coincide with your bias, and there ya go, PROOF!

      I love it how you call me out for bias, when all you do is look for reasons to support your own. Its no secret that I tend to like Ford products, but that isn’t all I like, and I certainly don’t feel the need to make up $#^Г to justify my opinions.

  • avatar
    gtem

    “Unlike others *cough* Corolla *cough*, the Cruze is endowed with disc brakes at all four corners, rather than prehistoric drums at the rear”

    This again? I hate to sound like a broken record but what is with this auto-journalist obsession with rear disks on the rear axles of economy cars?

    For a commuter car in the salt belt, give me rear drums any day.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      For the incremental increase in cost to build the car, four wheel disk brakes are worth the money. One of the things that I appreciate most are solid, straight stops, especially in sudden braking situations.

      Probably after years of having their asses handed to them in safety issues, GM has taken the attitude that it’s worth the extra effort?

      I sure hope so. I say kudos to four wheel disks.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        “One of the things that I appreciate most are solid, straight stops, especially in sudden braking situations.”

        Do you think a new Corolla or any number of other drum brake equipped cars can’t perform solid straight stops in sudden braking situations?

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        In a car like this, rear discs have no appreciable benefit. The fronts do all the work. This base model gets rear discs for the same reason it has power windows: GM doesn’t sell enough of them to bother with different parts than the mainstream trims.

    • 0 avatar
      happycamper

      My 1998 Honda Civic had rear drum brakes. This is news to me that drum brakes result in unsafe and unpredictable braking.

      Not having to touch the brakes in 230,000 miles was appreciated.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      FWIW, the front brakes do the majority of the work, regardless of the set-up. I can’t say that I’ve heard of anyone having to replace rear disks/pads at a high rate on any brand of car. Rear drums seem to work fine, I’ve survived many years of driving cars equipped with them.

      I frequently switch between two vehicles, one with all disks, the other with drums in the rear. I find that the all-disk car stops more consistently with better pedal modulation. Of course, there are many variables that could affect this.

      But when I have to go through Chicago traffic, I want the car with all wheel disks.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        “I can’t say that I’ve heard of anyone having to replace rear disks/pads at a high rate on any brand of car.”

        ’08-ish Honda Accord, “ask the man who owns one” as Packard used to say ;)

        But in my personal experience, it’s always been the rear rotors rusting out and calipers starting to stick on rear-disk equipped cars. I have literally not owned a rear disk equipped car where I haven’t had to replace rear rotors from rust rather than critical wear (same for the fronts on a few cars). I’ve never had to mess with drums for anything wear or rust related, they’re just kind of there.

        • 0 avatar
          geozinger

          @gtem: Well, Honda leads the way… again!

          Seriously, on these cars where the rear disks are rusted, is the braking system working correctly? The rears have got to be taking on some braking load each time you apply the brakes. Even if the split were 90% front / 10% rear, the rear brake disks should never rust…

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Yep, it’s just a well known salt-belt issue. Rotors start to rust from outside the swept area and it will start to creep in, underneath the metal that is being swept, bit by bit. Or a prolonged parking in the winter near salt spray without use is sometimes enough to do them in, the corrosion occurs in the interface between the pads and the rotors where the moisture lingers. That pitting does not just get cleared away by the pads, and can then lead to uneven pad buildup and ultimately warping.

            The other, more immediate issue with rust on rear disk brakes is if the brake pad interface is not made of a non-corroding alloy (like some newer Ford cars), the bit of rust the builds up can be enough to start causing the pads to jam up (shims get squeezed tight), causing uneven pad wear and drag, as well as the pads to no longer fully sweep the rotor. By the time you notice, there’s more rust than the pad can just clear away anymore. My wife’s 2012 Camry had this uneven pad issue, easily corrected with a bit of filing, brake grease, and a set of new pads.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            Hmm… I’m in the Salt Belt. I’m even further into it than you in Indy (I’m in Grand Rapids, Michigan).

            I’ve had nearly 15 years of all DISK braked Chevys and Pontiacs daily drivers, zero problems with this kind of thing.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            I also wanted to add: For the folks who don’t think rear DISKS are worth the effort, go ahead convert your car to all-drum brakes.

            Enjoy the greater stopping distances, the uneven application of braking power, the heat fade, the sticking in damp conditions, the flooding in the event you have to go through some deep water. Let’s not even get into the servicing and adjusting of those things.

            Again, I’ll go with greater efficiency and safety, thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      To be fair should of compared it to a 20 year old Chevy, aka the memorable Cavalier.

  • avatar
    gtem

    In pursuit of minimal-cost motoring, I switched from a trouble-free but ultimately boring 2012 5spd Civic LX to a series of sub-$2000 beaters that have been fun and reliable but were always needing a few odds and ends (which is kind of fun most of the time, sometimes not). Part of me wants to take a look at something like this, a new lower trim unloved sedan that would get fantastic MPG and something that I’d never have to be pricing out things like shocks or even brakes on rockauto as a passtime. But even something as cheap as this would get hit with thousands in depreciation over the first several years of ownership, and I’m afraid I’d get bored again and want to get out of it. I do like the steel wheels and 15″ tires on this Chevy, our roads encourage such practical and basic hardware. My current Ranger isn’t the best riding thing out there but it shrugs off the worst that Indy has thrown at it with its sturdy 225/70R14s+alloys and 1960s era twin-I-beam front end. Selling come fall, a light RWD truck from the 90s is not something I want to commute in on the beltway on slick roads, even with snow tires. Current top contenders: “Fat” panther on snow tires, pre-’96 H body, XV10-XV20 Camry. Open to suggestions from the B&B :)

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Sounds like a previous-gen Cruze Eco would hit the spot. Your proposed contenders are 20 years old and will still need a steady diet of parts and maintenance.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        I did sort of consider a used 1G Cruze, but in LS trim to get steel wheels and the NA 1.8L motor. But I do wonder whether I’d simply get bored with a newer FWD 4cyl compact, stick shift or not.

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack7G

        The first-gen Cruze is an excellent vehicle in every way other than reliability. Coolant issues, burning oil, pcv/valve cover gasket failures, coolant issues, failed turbos, coolant issues. Oh, and coolant issues.

        I’d trust a 200k mile 20 year old Camry over a 4-6 year old 50k mile Cruze any day for reliability. Which is why I do.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I’ve heard of the coolant leak issues, are the other things you mention mostly on the 1.4Ts or are the 1.8L NA motors affected as well?

          • 0 avatar
            KalapanaBlack7G

            Pcv issues and coolant issues affect both. Plus the 1.8 is an interference engine with a timing belt(!).

            Shame, too. I very much liked the new Cruzes and Sonics I drove all the time in my rental car days. They just haven’t aged well mechanically.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          But Kalapana, that can’t be true, because Pete Gazis is telling everyone that:

          “Last Generation did win a number of J.D. Power quality awards. I would bet this Cruze will do the same.”

          J.D. Powers Quality Awards, Kalapana!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      gtem, it sounds like you are ON THE CUSP of embracing consumer society. gingerly, as we all do in the beginning :)

      I’ve been thinking about depreciation recently as I need a new car as well. The problem with trying to save money by buying brand new is two-fold: 1) cheap cars tend to be not very desirable generally, so you’d have a really hard time unloading them on craigslist, unless you turn it over to a dealer, which is something you may not want to lock yourself into. and 2) of course regular depreciating. I think the sweet spot is either being the second owner or third owner with no more than 50k miles on proven powertrains of cars that are not undesirable. Any of this can be mitigated with “i’ll drive it for 20 years,” but life is so unpredictable, it’s not a bet i’d make with certainty.

      One car I’ve been looking at recently has been the C-Max hybrid. 2013 SEL’s under 50k miles are just touching the $10k mark. 2015 SEL’s with half the miles are at the $15-16 mark. There are a bunch of those all over craigslist with upwards of 300k miles, clearly service vehicles, which bodes well. Perhaps worth considering?

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        That actually sounds like somewhat of an option, as a bonus I bet my wife actually wouldn’t mind driving it either. The only one of my “fleet” that she’s been willing to borrow in a pinch was the ’96 ES300. A Hybrid might be a particularly smart buy right now: if you do want to unload it in a short time frame, there’s a good chance that rising gas prices would make it a highly desirable private sale or trade-in.

        The last of the W Impalas (ex fleet “Limiteds”) are actually in a sweet spot right now IMO. You can find them all day for $10-12k with 30-40k miles, and they are at a spot in their depreciation curve where you can drive for 3-5 years and then sell it privately for about $7k easily (I think).

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          My wife presents similar restrictions. She will temporarily reside across the country for work, taking the BMW, but the car may eventually come back into the fold. If it does, there are no illusions as to whose car the BMW really is. I can’t do another sedan like the impala, and she wouldn’t be caught dead in one anyway. Her dream would be an A3 hatch with manual, but those are stupid expensive, and I could do without VAG 2.0t worries right now. And I don’t want to pay 10-15 for a Golf unless it’s the TSI generation. She’s ok with the C-Max idea though. It would fit my lifestyle too, puttering around with good FE but highway friendly for the multitude of long trips we like to do. It’s going to be interesting.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @Gtem: If you are contemplating Impalas, then why not an Oshawa assembled 3800 Buick? They are now ‘fully’ depreciated, there are lots of decent ones, often owned by ‘retirees’ who had them regularly serviced at the dealership.

          Boring for sure, but fantastic highway cruisers. And with a dead solid powertrain. And very good build quality.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Absolutely, hence my “pre-96 H body” idea. I find the ’97-’03s to have an unpalatable amount of cost cutting on the inside, much more plasticky and not as much old school flavor.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          @gtem

          “you can drive for 3-5 years and then sell it privately for about $7k easily (I think).”

          Not so IMO. My now 10yo W black books 3-3,5 tops, so you’re going to drive a 2yo for up to seven total years of life and get $7K easily? When demand is low, the closer your real world pricing gets to wholesale, last I checked W and Panther have similar demand (not much).

          Regarding your quandary, Avalon is probably the best bet with a runner up to pre-02 Nissan and Infiniti G + AWD or sandbags. ’96 anything doesn’t fare too well north of Mason-Dixon, at least not for any length of time.

          PS: P2 S60 Volvo under 100K is a gamble which may be worth taking in this climate. Total lowball it bc nobody wants them.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “Total lowball it bc nobody wants them.”

            My wife had a hand-me-down one back in college, then passed on to her sister. Front end was a noisy mess by 124k, disintegrating interior, cold-solder-joint related info center display errors and airbag warnings. I was happy to clean it up and sell it for them for $3900 to some high schooler. Good riddance. Nice front seats and highway manners and rust resistance, that’s about it.

            “’96 anything doesn’t fare too well north of Mason-Dixon, at least not for any length of time.”

            I’m curious what you meant by this, rust resistance wise?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            If your budget is kissing 5-figures then I like the idea of the G35 or M35.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I’ve seen a couple of earlier G35X sedans pop up that briefly caught my eye, but they generally have totally worn looking interiors. Theyr’e also starting to rust here in Central Indiana.
            RWD/AWD Infiniti parts are not really cheap either (compared to generic Ford/GM/yota), and the increase in complexity is appreciable. The consistent trend in all my beaters are easy to work on+ cheap parts, I plan to stick with that so-far successful approach. I appreciate the recommendation though.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Yeah, the 35s were Nissan’s post-Ghosn junky interiors era. M35 might be okay otherwise, but G35s tend to be in the hands of the F&F/stance crowd these days.

          • 0 avatar

            You can find nice M35s, as the G crowd doesn’t want them – I assume they’re too large and not cool.

            You’ll want an 08-10 version though, for the styling update and deletion of orange gauges for more modern blue. Other bits of trim were also modernized, and those later ones seem to hold up better than the 06-07. That being said, my 65k 2009 example has always been garaged and came from North Carolina, and the wood trim still has light lateral fractures in it.

            M35/Q at 2011+ is a complete content-cut no-go (out of the prices you’re talking about anyway, but still).

            I’m going to sell my M and get a 14-15 GS350 RWD. 2014 moved to the 8-speed AT for better fuel economy, and ’15 was last year before big predator face time.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Fellas I need you to get your collective minds more in the poor-house. None of these highfalutin Infinitis, unless you’re talking about a mid 90s I30!

          • 0 avatar

            BORING.

            Okay extra clean ’99 Avalon.
            Utility option: Vibe/Matrix.
            Fancy: Older TSX.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Matrix and TSX fail on ride quality/durability quotient. Avalon is definitely on my list, If I could find a pre-facelifted gen 1 with a column shifter or in two tone white over gold, I’d have a hard time resisting.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Not two-tone, but has that old-school JDM cloth:
            https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/cto/d/1996-toyota-avalon/6618488884.html

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @gtem

            Between salt and general climate, anything not garaged from the mid-90s is showing its age. Personally I’m not buying something that spent half or more of its life outside in this climate and expecting to DD it as you do.

            Poor house?

            DN101 Taurus
            W-body (Our LORD or 3100)
            H-body
            Panther
            GMT400
            Dodge SUV/maybe Dakota
            Southern Nissan Pathfinder (do not buy from rust belt!)

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            28 days I’m inclined to agree, although with some careful pre-purchase inspection you can avoid the real rotboxes, and scoop up something that was spared the worst of the brine or a recent transplant from a southern locale. My Maxima and ’97 Ranger both ended up having some structurally concerning rust. The ’94 Ranger is rock solid with just the usual surface rust on the frame. The ES was starting to go in the rear quarter panels (silver dollar sized spots) but the subframe and underbody was basically like new, it was unreal. The reason I got the Pilot so cheap was a small and isolated bit of structural rust on the unibody by the rear subframe. This is what allowed me to get it for $500. Found a welder on craigslist who did a fantastic job repairing that area for $500, and with some fresh struts/shocks and swaybar links allowed me to flip it for quite a handsome profit (after driving it through the winter). So rust is definitely a menace, but with due diligence I’m not afraid of vehicles based strictly off of age. If I can really find something I think I want to hang onto for 2-3 years, I’d make sure to Fluid Film it like I do my 4Runner every fall.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @gtem

            Not only rust and body rot but you must remember worn rubber seals, worn shocks, worn exhausts/resonators prone to holes, coagulated fluids even (i.e. GM Orange Death). Anything which sat outside for more than a decade starts to show these issues, and for me they are not something I’d like to DD unless I know the history.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            28 days oh sure there are always plenty of unknowns, but I feel that at this point I’ve developed a pretty good sense for feeling these sorts of things out. There’s always a risk of course, and I’ve definitely gotten singed but perhaps not quite burned with unexpected rust on several of the cars. In both cases I was still able to sell the cars on for decent money and move on. If anything my overall experience has been eye opening in just how darn resilient and reliable most cars are these days. I’ve never been stranded or put in an unsafe situation by any of my cheap cars, and all of them were used on a daily basis to drive to and from work. The ’97 Ranger and ’96 ES made trips out to my brother’s place in PA 8 hours away, the Pilot made multiple 2 hour drives up to Ft Wayne with my wife and dogs inside in comfort.

            Like I said my formula of staying with tried and true models that have good reputations of reliability AND have good parts support and are easy to work on has treated me well. I’ve also always been able to sell within a week or two of listing for a good price when I’m ready to move on. The consistent pattern that I’ve seen of things that I generally find myself replacing soon after purchase are rusty brake rotors (see my disc brake rant above), and shocks/struts, occasionally a control arm. That and some fluid changes typically, I did a timing belt on the ES but that wasn’t necessary in hindsight.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Looks like used Cruze Ls go for around $10K or less. Or you could buy an Abarth for a similar price. :)

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      gtem, I’m kind of thinking along the same lines when it comes to my old LeSabre, which my oldest daughter is driving. It runs, but it’s got almost 140,000 miles and it seems like I’m always having to fix something with it. I’ve dropped around two grand on it this year. I’m wondering when the transmission problems start. And I’m getting sick of the “Dad, it’s making weird noises” calls.

      At what point would it be cheaper to just get the kid a cheap new car – with all the safety goodies that make Dad feel all warm and fuzzy – versus just sinking money into the old car?

      Frankly, I’m tempted to just let her run out the lease on my Jetta, sell the Buick, and get something new for myself. She’ll be out of school and working by the time the lease is up, so she could either buy it out ($9500, which may be a good option for her), or I could just chuck it in.

      It’s a question.

      If you’re interested in a cheap new car, though, I’d definitely point you in the direction of a ’18 Jetta – man, are those cheap these days. Plus you get the 60k warranty.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Sounds like the Buick has served its purpose. Spending $2K *without* any trans work means it is time to move on.

        I know you’ve been itching for a more powerful vehicle lately so I think selling the LeSabre, giving your daughter the Jetta, and picking up a GTI/ATS/330i/whatever is a good call.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I was wondering when this car would make the list.

    Are you sure about those colors? I swear a I saw a Cruze L in red a couple of days ago. Maybe US vs. Canadian offerings? In fact, seeing that car that made me think of the Ace of Base articles.

    The older I get, the more I like the cheapies. These things are far better outfitted than their class used to be. I might even torture my left foot and ankle and get back into a stick car if the price was right.

    • 0 avatar
      paxman356

      I just went to the Chevy website, and sure enough, “Silver” Ice metallic and Summit White is all that’s listed for colors in the Base L. And only Jet Black cloth interior.

  • avatar
    redapple

    gtem: You nuts?

    a 23+ year old panther>? Dude. Spend a few bucks. Get a decent car with new toys and an AC that works.
    Back up camera. Working airbags. Working anti locks. Automatic braking/ pre collision braking and on and on.

    Leases are $240 total nut for a Camry or Accord.
    A disgraceful junker POS will cost you $150/month total nut after repairs and depreciation and lost interest.

    A $1000 /year extra for a safe, reliable new car. Worth it. Come on cheapo.

    Worth every nickel.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “Get a decent car with new toys and an AC that works.
      Back up camera. Working airbags. Working anti locks. Automatic braking/ pre collision braking and on and on.”

      FWIW the A/C works great on my current ’94 Ranger and ’96 4Runner. I’m ambivalent about ABS, and until I have kids, airbags as well if I’m frank. The rest of those features I REALLY don’t care for, although with how poor rear visibility is on newer cars those cameras are increasingly necessary. I’ve never wished for a backup camera in my older vehicles.

      “A disgraceful junker POS will cost you $150/month total nut after repairs and depreciation and lost interest.”

      My Maxima and ’97 Ranger were frankly kind of rough when I bought them, but my ’96 ES was a perfectly presentable car with a clean leather interior, likewise the ’03 Pilot EX-L that I scored for $500 and later sold for $5000.

      The beauty of these beaters is that there is literally no depreciation. Lost interest as in opportunity cost from not investing? It’s driving these beaters that ALLOWS me to invest more in the first place. I keep spreadsheets on all of said beaters, the total cost per mile is generally in the $.10/mile range excluding fuel. The real winner was my ’03 Pilot which I had a total of $1700 invested in which I sold for $5000. Worst was my ’97 Ranger which I farmed some work out on to my brother that ended up costing me $3500 all in, which I sold for $2500. But I used the heck out of that thing all summer hauling building materials for my patio and other projects as well as commuting every day. Current Ranger was bought for $2000 (106k miles, RWD XLT 4cyl/5spd reg cab with 7 foot bed), with almost zero invested aside from $50 in paint and $100 in a set of spare wheels/tires. Anticipated selling price of about $2400.

      My final point of aversion from many new cars are the interiors: I hate modern seat fabric and other interior materials that look flashy in photos but are wholly inferior in person. My faves from the 90s (1996 Lexus ES300, my brother’s ’96 Mercury Mystique oddly enough) are in terms of tactile quality much more attractive to me. A $2500 “aero” Crown Vic’s velour interior is much more appealing to me than something like this Cruze. Finally, some of those 1990s cars can still be found with a road-smothering ride as well, before the days of even Lexus succumbing to pursuit of “sporty” handling.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack7G

      Sure. Only $240/month. Plus the set of tires you need 2000 miles before lease end. Plus the control your vehicle finance company has over your mileage. Plus full coverage insurance that’s twice your current rate. Plus gap insurance. Plus the front brake work you’ll need 2000 miles before lease end.

      Most expensive vehicle (of 6) I have ever bought: $3200. Amount I have spent average per month in the last 7 years of driving: $166, including insurance, depreciation, fuel and repairs. And that includes depreciating two cars down to $0 because of an accident and a mechanical issue.

      Amount of times I have been stranded in those 7 years: 0.

      I pay for AAA, but I’m not sure why. Never used anything but the discounts.

      I love when people preach THEIR way as the ONLY way and the RIGHT way. If you want to pay more for a brand new car, it doesn’t bother me. But don’t throw shade at someone else who chooses not to. Nazi.

  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    While I usually agree with most AoB selections, I must speak up about this one in particular.

    The engine/manual tranny combo in the Cruze is DREADFUL.

    I mean, really bad. The shifter is sloppy, clutch engagement is weird, and that 153hp sounds like a decent amount, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. I don’t know what the torque numbers are, but there doesn’t feel like much. This car is horribly slow from a standstill. Also, the engine makes so little noise in the cabin that it’s hard to hear where your shift points need to be. I never thought about that much until I drove this car, but with a manual transmission, you have to be able to hear the motor! Maybe I’m deaf after years of driving loud cars, but I had to keep one eye on the road and one on the tach because I couldn’t hear where to shift!

    Other than that, it is a rather attractive, comfortable car.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      The 2G Cruze has the manual transmission from the 1G Cruze Eco – which isn’t the best for drivability as its ratios are very wide in the interest of fuel economy. The 1G LT manual is much better suited to the engine. I have both a 2012 Eco and 1LT 6M and the LT is much more fun to drive.

      And with the motor as small as it is, you pretty much have to wring it’s neck to get any performance out of it.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

      Agreed. You know it’s awful when even a certain “Save the Manuals!” car magazine recommends the automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      “This car is too quiet!” The ultimate first world problem.

      • 0 avatar
        FerrariLaFerrariFace

        I don’t know about ultimate, but yeah, it did strike me as a weird thing to complain about. The irony is not lost on me. But if you think about it, when driving a stick, hearing the engine is an important thing that we take for granted.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I test drove a manual 2015ish Cruze LS with the 1.8. If this is anything like that I wouldn’t want it. At the time I was driving my Focus SE with its 5 speed (3000 rpm at 70mph – weeeee) and was reasonably content with that. Jump to the Cruze which I was test driving for my then sister-in-law who was wrangling my nephew, had the smarmy salesguy next to me saying “got a lot of pep for a 4 cylinder dudnit”. I couldn’t launch the thing smoothly if my life depended on it. Trying to drive around their 2 mile suburban “test route” with no highway time at all was a joke.

      I daresay the transmission in that was worse than the transmission in my Forte was.

  • avatar
    paxman356

    Does this not have cruise control? Or better yet, does this have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and a screen, but not buttons for something the computer is probably already able to handle? I love me some manual transmission, but no cruise on the Cruze means no sale.

  • avatar
    derekson

    I can’t see how you’d justify buying this over a base Jetta, and by that I mean the old 2018 model even much less the new one. If you’re skipping on the reliable Corolla anyway, why not get a car with more features and better build quality? And since Dieselgate they’ve been cheap as hell at the dealers around me. I’ve seen people buying them for under $14k new for the manual.

  • avatar
    duncanator

    I prefer the term “toilet seat white” over Rental car white.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    How about a “Waste of Space” regular feature for the poorest-value trims on the market.

    I’d enjoy reading that a lot more than these “Everyone’s a Winner!” features. (Especially for these “Base Models” that are nearly impossible to buy and exist almost solely as “From $XX,YYY!” advertising fodder.)

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Daewoo”

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    It’s hard to fault the absence of a spare tire, when there are pricier cars that are also missing spares. It actually may be a *good* thing to skip the spare. Prevents people from misusing spares as a long-term replacement.

  • avatar
    dwford

    At $17k this car can be forgiven for missing some features, but at almost $24k, my Cruze LT RS hatch is still missing some features I had come to think of a pretty basic: the tint across the top of the windshield, sun visors that extend on their arm, lumbar adjustment on the power driver’s seat, rear seat center headrest.

    The Cruze is the Samsung Galaxy of the auto world. It has a ton of features that sound great, all the latest buzzwords, but in reality much of it just doesn’t work that great.

    The small displacement turbo motor looks great on paper – great power and mileage numbers, but in reality it has a multiple personality disorder – some days it has great power, loves to rev and the transmission shifts great. But most days it is sluggish off the line to the point of getting NO acceleration, lugs around in 6th gear unless you force it to downshift, and it doesn’t get the mileage its rated for. My current 450 mile average is 26.1mpg in mixed driving.

    The interior looks great – very stylish. But in practice all that chrome is blinding on sunny days, and there’s no escaping it. I may tape over it with electrical tape. And at 15,000 miles, the interior has more squeaks rattles and buzzes than the 190k mile Hyundai Sonata I traded in. The dealer would have to disassemble the whole interior to figure out where all the noises are coming from, so what’s the point.

    The exterior styling is amazing in the hatchback class (now that Hyundai has ruined the Elantra GT). But the gaps between the panels and between the body and the lights manage to catch every leaf and other debris. I never knew there could be so many crevices on a car for thinks to get stuck in.

    Overall, the Cruze is a good looking car that checks all the boxes as far as having the latest tech and features, but it’s not built great and it all doesn’t work like it’s supposed to. There’s a reason they are giving them away.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    The best thing about rear disc brakes is it brings out the commenters who don’t know the difference between disc and disk.

    The former is a shape and a type of brake. The latter is a device used by computers because it is shaped like a disc… but computer programmers of yesteryear were bad spellers (disc disk, sudo pseudo).

    Anyway, rear brakes do more like 1/4 of the total braking effort for moderate and aggressive braking, and about 1/3 for light braking. Discs are better because they respond faster to ABS, but the difference isn’t enough to matter for cars in this segment. Nobody is chasing down perps, getting away from assassins, or trying to win a road rally in one of these cars.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “The best thing about rear disc brakes is it brings out the commenters who don’t know the difference between disc and disk.

      The former is a shape and a type of brake. The latter is a device used by computers because it is shaped like a disc… but computer programmers of yesteryear were bad spellers (disc disk, sudo pseudo).”

      Hey buddy just be thankful I’m not calling them “breaks.”

  • avatar

    GM wins here by forfeit since Ford will cancel all their production cars by 2022. Even the Cruze now finishes ahead of all comparable Fords.

    Ford – what a disgrace!

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Yeah, I’m a first-time GM owner but grizzled veterans of the make tell me GM has issues with interior noises regardless of price point. I have a new Volt–and at only 1500 miles rough pavement turns up a buzz in the dash and another in the fuse box lid. To be fair, the pavement has to be awful to hear the buzz and engine noise would cover it up if there were an engine running–but I expect it will become more prominent over time and more to the point, I imagine a two-cent piece of felt where the plastic joins would prevent it.

    (Other than that, I’m happy with the car; I was braced for it to be the world’s most expensive Cruze but it’s more the love child of a Prius and a Model 3.)

  • avatar
    andreroy55

    Pssst! Got any more o’them sneakers? Meet you at the eighth Timmies past Barrie.

    Wear an upside-down “Sneer for Scheer” button, I’ll have a a sideways “Sing for Singh” button.


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